Released: August 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Young Adult - Fairy Tales - Series
Source: Dark Faerie Tales Blog Tour
Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.
Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.
Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
Jackson Pearce has got to be one of my favorite authors. I absolutely am in love with her storytelling. Yes, not just writing, but her ability to really tell a story. Fairy Tales are something all of us know well, and there are tons of re-tellings out there, but I swear this woman is the Queen of them. Not to mention she wrote such a kick ass opening that sucked me in!
Sisters Red was a favorite for me, but I think Sweetly topped it. I loved Gretchen and Ansel, and them stumbling into this town where secrets are being kept. There is something out there taking girls, and everyone wants to point the finger at Sophia, the young woman who hold an annual Chocolate Festival every year. Sophia had me curious from the moment she came into the story. Her house may have not been made of candy and sweets, but was a baker. The way it was written, I felt like I was there smelling all the goodies and tasting them. I seriously was craving sweets through this book! I liked seeing the side of Ansel that Sophia brought out. He was more quiet and timid character, but it was cute seeing the way he acted around her.
Then there was Samuel. Oh, Samuel. I swear my inner character whore was swooning over this boy. I loved the relationship between him and Gretchen. Gretchen was so tired of being scared of the witch that took her twin sister. Instead of relying on Samuel to be her protector like a lot of girls in stories would do, Gretchen wanted to learn how to fight for herself. It was refreshing to see such a strong-willed character that wasn't overly stubborn and could have her sensitive side as well.
The setting was perfect. I still felt as if I were reading a fairy tale, yet it was done in modern times. It's something very tricky to do when you think about. Between the characters, suspense, and the fact I was craving chocolate throughout this book the best part was the outcome. Jackson gave such fantastic twists - I did not see all those answers coming out like that! The balance she had for both plot and characters will make any reader fall in love with this re-telling. I hope Jackson continues to do some more re-tellings in the future. She rocks them!